Tag Archives: Atlanta Braves

Early Award Predictions

Winter is beginning to fade away and spring is just around the corner. The light at the end of the tunnel is finally approaching and I could not be more excited. Spring Training games have commenced, albeit they most likely bore you to tears after the third or fourth inning, so let’s give you guys something to look forward to. How do predictions for the Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, and MVP sound?

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This year there are two distinct favorites for the Rookie of the year award. Dansby Swanson of the Atlanta Braves will run away with this award in the National League. Swanson played just 38 games after being called up at the end of the 2016 season. In his limited time in the Big’s, Swanson showed exactly why he was drafted first overall in 2015. The 23 year old does it all. Swanson is smooth in the field, can hit for average, steal bags, and has shown some pop in his bat. Swanson debuted in the middle of August and still finished with a .302 Avg., 3 home runs, 17 RBIs, and 3 stolen bases in just 38 games. Another year of experience will be extremely valuable for Swanson and should propel him to the next level of stardom.

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From the American league I see Red Sox young stud, Andrew Benintendi taking home the Rookie of the Year award. Most Red Sox fans fell in love with Benintendi last season after his debut on August 2nd. Benintendi hit .295 with 2 home runs and 14 RBIs, in just 34 games. These numbers aren’t jaw-dropping but they show the potential that Benintendi has. At the age of 22, he is poised to take over the everyday role in Left field, with the Green Monster looming over him.

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In 2016 Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello took the league by storm, receiving the Cy Young Award in their respective leagues. This year I see the honor going to Clayton Kershaw and Corey Kluber. Kershaw is an extremely safe pick, seeing that he is constantly dominant year in and year out. Last season was an enigma for Kershaw. He suffered through a nagging back injury that kept him to just 21 starts. With that being said, Kershaw still finished with a 12-4 record and an outrageous 1.69 ERA. If Kershaw can stay healthy, there is no question in my mind that he can win his 4th Cy Young in 7 years.

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Corey Kluber took the bull by the horns last year, finishing in third place for the Cy Young just behind Justin Verlander and Porcello. Kluber took his amazing statistics into the playoffs where he continued to dominate, leading the Indians to the World Series. Kluber has been a silent killer for the past three years. Staying out of the headlines, Kluber continues to produce amazing numbers as the ace of one of baseball’s best rotations.

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Now the moment you have all been waiting for; the MVP award. It would be a safe choice to pick Mike Trout and Kris Bryant but this year is going to be different. These players will obviously have sensational seasons but in 2017 Nolan Arenado and Jose Altuve will take home the award. Arenado doesn’t get much attention playing in Colorado but has been one of the best players in the MLB for the past two seasons. At 25, Arenado is a 4 time Gold Glove winner and 2 time Silver Slugger. Arenado will be turning 26 this year, baseball players prime. Over his four seasons, his statistics have continued to escalate. This year will be no different. Even though the Rockies are going nowhere fast, Arenado has certainly earned his spot as one of baseball’s best players.

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Jose Altuve has owned the American League for the past three seasons. Standing at just 5’6” and weighing 165 pounds, you would think Altuve would be better suited as a jockey rather than a MVP candidate. Altuve has proven that he is a 5 tool player. Altuve has 600+ hits over the course of the last three seasons and can still hit the long ball, racking up 24 last season. The Astros are poised to have a bounce back season this year, giving Altuve a better chance at winning the MVP award.

Keep an eye out for these players. All of them are stars or stars in the making. This year is going to be a fun one, make sure you strap in for the long ride.

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Who will Feast in the National League East?

The National League East has been a division of complete disarray over the past few years. Looking up and down the division, it is hard to find a team that has established their true identity. In 2016 the Washington Nationals began to establish themselves as one of the powerhouses in the National League, cruising away with the division title. Looking past the Nationals, the rest of the division does not impress me much. Look for 2017 to be no different.

Washington Nationals 95-67

New York Mets 90-72

Miami Marlins 80-82

Atlanta Braves 74-88

Philadelphia Phillies 73-89

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The Nationals are head and shoulders above their competition in the National League East. The Nats tallied 95 wins on their way to their third division title in 5 years. Their roster is filled with talent throughout. Toeing the rubber every fifth day is reigning Cy Young Award winner, Max Scherzer and batting cleanup is former MVP Bryce Harper. Harper had a dramatic drop in production following his MVP season in 2015. Look for the slugger to turn things around and be a more dynamic player in 2017. Following Scherzer in the rotation are two other pitchers who could compete for a Cy Young of their own. Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez combined for 26 wins and have created one of the most dominant one-two-three punches in the National League. The Nationals are poised to make a run at a Pennant this coming October.

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The New York Mets were hampered with injuries in 2016 which could have led to their early exit in October of last year. Going down the stretch run the Mets depended heavily on Noah Syndergaard to carry them throughout the playoffs, a very tough task for a 24 year old kid. What made the Mets so dominant just two years ago was their pitching rotation. Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey silenced bats night in and night out, leading them all the way to the World Series. The Mets have plenty of talent throughout their roster, the question is whether or not those players can stay healthy enough over the course of the season.

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The Miami Marlins were in the thick of a Wild Card race when star pitcher Jose Fernandez was tragically killed in a boating accident last September. The loss of their best pitcher was too much to handle as they collapsed down the stretch, coming in third place in their division. It is imperative that the Marlins are able to establish a true number one in their rotation before the 2017 season begins. Over the offseason the Marlins made a few moves to improve their bullpen and rotation but did not do much to improve upon their offense which was their main downfall in 2016. If the Marlins are unable to acquire a big bat to follow Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup then the Marlins will have to suffer through another mediocre year.

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At the bottom of the division I have both the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies. The Braves made a few head scratching moves this offseason, signing 43 year old Bartolo Colon and 42 year old RA Dickey. As a team that should be rebuilding, the addition of these two pitchers leaves me extremely puzzled. Both Colon and Dickey signed 1 year deals that totaled around $20 million. Neither pitcher will put the team over the top, and both take up a good chunk of cash that could be used to acquire young players for the future. As for the Phillies they have not done much to improve so I see them being bottom dwellers for a few more years to come.

The Nationals are the clear favorites to come out of the National League East, but don’t count out the Mets who, if healthy, can make a run for a division title. Don’t spend much time watching this division, there are better ones to keep an eye on in 2017.